This blog is a rip of the original
forum-thread on Hangar45.net.
27-12-2012 23:56:21 - Progress update
Finally found some time for a progress update. I've been a bit
stealthy lately, because there's a lot going on in my life which again slows
down my build, but it doesn't take away the fun! However, I need to move very
soon so I'll loose my great workshop unfortunately, but I will find a new way
to continue building.
Let's get going:
Building the LCD/monitor frame here. Since my LCD's can be separated from the
power supply and interface, I will mount them on the back as you can see here.
Finished LCD frame.
For the 15" LCD's it's a perfect fit! The 15.4" wideview needs a little
Aluminium suspension (10x10mm) with M2(!) bolts, perfect!
LCD frame attached to MIP tower. The MIP itself is aligned perfectly! Very happy
with this result.
I found a guy that could produce the aluminum parts needed to finish the furniture
for quite a good price. He did a great job, the parts are laser cut with high
precision. The foot plates aren't aluminum in this case, I preferred stainless
steel because it's less vulnerable to wearing. It's a bit heavier though...
At the end of the summer, like every year, I went again to the 'radio market'
and found myself some nice goodies. These are over 40 pairs of 5-pole connectors
which can come in very handy at a later stage. Remember my build will be modular,
so there's a lot that needs to be unpluggable. I hope to find more of these next
year. A nice detail is the apple-green color!
I could also get a lot of bright LED's in the needed colors (I got green, red,
orange and natural light)
And this of course is a a nice LED strip for use with the glareshield. But I
doubt about this purchase now, because it's color is natural and I later found
out that in most pictures I've seen the color is more white/blueish. Any thoughts
I really can't forget to mention I got Mark's TQ and boy that's a piece of
work, really amazing! big_smile I still need to assemble it and I haven't got
any pictures yet, but I hope to get to it as soon as I'm able to work on my
Also, I have some news on the two EFIS DU Control panels I bought on eBay.
For this please read the thread in the Classifieds section.
That's it for now. I think it will take a while before I can work again on
my build and follow you guys on the Hangar... My priorities now lie at packing
and moving very soon, and I know some members among us know very well what it
takes! wink Nevertheless, don't mind to contact me by e-mail.
Bye for now!
18-04-2012 15:55:23 - Update!
Finally a new update on my project! Most pictures are from a
while ago, time flies and a lot happened since my last update so I didn't had
the chance to share it with you.
The pictures still aren't of the best quality. I actually have a brand new
digital camera these days, but somehow I'm too lazy to use it and it's a bit
easier to grab my phone while working. :)
Bought some bigger clamps which can be very useful for about anything.
New hole saw.
I also worked on the springs beneath the floor. It took some time to find the
right springs but these guys work like a charm. The suspension might need some
more work, but it's good for now.
Also finished the TQ a while ago.
Same for the support tower, which still needs to be worked with my new hole saw.
Yes! I finally have my MIP!! It took way too long, but after a time consuming
crusade I managed to get it from a guy (one-man business) that had the ability
to use a laser CNC.
Very happy with it! :)
First to things on the list:
- MIP backer support with LCD screens
- MIP and Glareshield mounting
On the side I'm also designing a concept for the Yoke suspension system to
hold my Saitek Yokes. I think it's going to be great!
That's it for now, let me know what you think. Cheers! :)
16-09-2011 23:08:45 - And there we are, 4 months later...
I have to say that I hoped to make more progress in the past months, but I
didn't due to all kind of other things and issues that kept me busy unfortunately.
Next to that, or maybe because of it, I had a lack of inspiration to keep on
building. I guess you all know the feeling.
With that said, let's see what *did* happen:
The (almost) finished column boots. It only needs a rubber band inside the top
and some mounting rings on the bottom.
These alu rails where cut to size for the column spring mechanism. The square
nuts can slide through the rails to adjust the spring tension.
Hand-made alu slider. The springs will be attached to this slider.
Slider and springs mounted with big bolt, works perfectly!
This is how the springs are mounted to Ron's column parts. I've cut some axes
and spacers to size. The rings and the fixing collars hold it all together.
This works very smooth and noiseless.
Overview with the springs in place.
I found the steering damper! I had to remove some air out of it to make it run
smooth, like some of you also had to. Works great!
I also mounted a rail and triangle nut underneath the control column parts.
This will be for the springs under the base floor. At the moment, the current
large springs aren't enough to push and pull the colums in to a center position.
There's some backlash there I need to work on, but I have to wait until the
yokes are mounted which will add weight on the columns. Any advice is welcome!
Current status of the project (with CP finished).
Currently I'm working on the TQ pedestal. I had some trouble with figuring out
the measurements because I found a differences in designs (the round part where
the TQ module sits on). This difference caught me somehow in a kind of obsession
which caused me to wait (way) too long starting on the pedestal. Crazy of course!
Later I realized that wanting things to be too perfect doesn't get me far...
Next I will finish the other furniture and get my hands on the MIP, which will
be cut here in the Netherlands. I already ordered my very first panels (Ron's
Master Caution panels) and I hope to get more in time. Unfortunately I was too
late with confirming my order of Marks TQ module because I was on holiday, but
I will take the next available (with some nice improvements I've heard!).
Also I've been busy with my current FSX set-up. I now have hot-swap solidstate
solution so I have a separated Windows environment for the Sim which I can optimize
and use to test new software and interfacing solutions. Last week I bought REX
2.0 (you all know it I guess, but I've never used it before, really love it!)
and did some fine tuning, FSX runs smooth and I enjoy flying it!
Well that's about it! For all CNC friends: if you have parts available, please
let me know and send me an e-mail with what you have! smile
13-02-2011 23:08:45 - Time for another update! :)
Despite the fact I had some very busy weeks at work, I had a lot of energy
left for working on my project. I've worked on the control columns, the CP and
did some carpeting.
These are the parts waiting to be loaded with some springs. Like Ron already
knows, I've been through a hard time searching for the right springs in NL/Europe...
It is unbelievable how some specific parts are very hard to get here while US
webshops are loaded with them! :( After 3 weeks I gave up and Ron has been so
kind to send me the springs I needed. Thanks again Ron, you're the best! :)
This is the steering dampener that will prevent the ping-pong effect when working
with springs. I bought it off Marktplaats (popular Dutch eBay-like site) for
just € 20. After a small oil refill (had some air in it) it should work
I also worked on the steering transfer system, I've prepared this timing belt
for the lower crossing column. It consists of a very neat timing belt (MXL018),
a S-hook and small but strong spring. The belt is cut to length, glued together
and finished with shrink wrap. Looks great!
Belt mounted into position, it has a perfect tight tension. :)
Last week I've started on some carpeting. I found a very nice piece of carpet
(left-over) at the empty shop beneath my home, it's very strong and thick and
looks great on the raised floor.
Still need to cut out a piece where the CP sits, but it looks awesome! :D
Carpet close up, so you can see the strong and nice texture it has.
This is how I build the CP. I used 12mm MDF with glued 18x18 MDF strips for
the inner structure.
Almost finished CP in position!
I wanted to experiment with the leather finish for the control columns which
was one of the biggest challenges last week! :D My mother gave me a speed course
of how to use her first-and-last stitching machine. I think the machine is more
than 25 years old but still works perfectly!
Did some weird calculations and cut these pieces out of a nice piece of fake-leather
(€ 5!)... This will be the first time ever using a stitching machine! :o
This is the first test result (it has not been mounted jet), looks quite good
to me! :) Almost forgot: I painted the control columns too as you can see.
That's it for now, there will be more soon! :)
Let me know what you think!
19-12-2010 17:46:52 - New Update!
Time for a small update.
As the most of you already know, I found a nice new job in IT (Getronics Consulting)
and things are working out just fine. I started in October with two weeks of
training and I needed some time to settle down. Since my personal things are
"stabilized" I couldn't wait continuing building the sim!
I've been working on the raised floor section and the control columns. I don't
have a CNC like most of you to cut out the floor parts in a very accurate way,
but with a steady hand and some good tools I did quite well I guess. Also, I've
been searching forever to find the right type of timing belts for the steering
system. Of course, and as usual, no company in the Netherlands nor Europe could
get me those belts (no stock or only business-to-business!). Finally I found
a company in NY (econobelt.com) that could deliver up to 150 inches of MXL018
in one piece. I've ordered 5 pieces, just to be sure I would never have to search
for those belts again. smile
I added some strength to the raised floor parts. I needed to be sure that it
could hold some weight and I want the sim to be foolproof of course. smile
Cutting the control columns to right size.
Here is where opened up the Saitek Yokes to take a good look inside. As you
can see, the product is quite well build. Inside I found a really small interface
with build-in USB hub, two pots and a neat piece of mechanical engineering.
Saitek only used one V-shaped spring to center the Yoke with.
The (almost) finished raised floor section. I did not cut the holes for the
rudder pedals yet.
I already started on the center pedestal and it will be finished soon. After
that I will start on the TQ and MIP tower.
30-09-2010 11:35:57 - Update
Hi there! It's been a while so I guess it's time for an update!
The last two months I wasn't very active working on my project but that has
a few reasons. There's a lot happening in my private life; I lost my job as
studio equipment sales specialist at a local music instrument store in July,
found a new job at huge IT company, my girlfriend is moving in with me and so
In the mean time I tried to develop the lower control column parts and made
some sketches with a friend who has some more experience in mechanical stuff
than I have. I've had some difficulties with the mechanical parts and sometimes
I get caught up in the detail as the perfectionist I am... But my friend gave
me some wise words: "Stop thinking, start building!" And of course
he's completely right, as usual by the way. ;)
Last Saturday we went to a so called "Radio market" in the local
area. This event takes place once a year and I've never been there before. I
always thought it was a small scale radio-electronic related event (mainly for
ham amateur radio fanatics/pirates, we have a lot of them in the Netherlands)
-> I was wrong.
The event was HUGE and I found a lot of stuff that could help me building my
sim! Here's a quick tour:
Radio Market shot 1
Radio Market shot 2, huge terrain as you can see!
I was stunned when I saw this authentic FA-18 MFD display which actually came
from a real simulator! The price was a shocking € 40,- but when I asked
some questions, the guy revealed that this MFD was broken. If anyone is interested,
I've got the guys phone number. Amazing, isn't it?
We walked the radio market for about 4 or 5 hours over and over, looking for
parts and other useful stuff. This is where I came home with:
I've got 3 of these bags with axes, pulleys, (set)rings and more for just €
1,- per bag! Could come in very handy for building the mechanical parts of the
column controls. These parts came from old reading devices designed for poorly
Some Teflon parts. Very nice material to work with, i.e. for designing the manual
gear lever or other small mechanical parts.
A lot of very nice, large and heavy switches for € 1,- each. Some were
used, other were brand new. They have approximately the same size as the Honeywell
toggle switches so these can be used as dummy's!
Three great numeric LED displays for just € 4,50! I'm gonna use this catch
for the APU display. (Still need to figure out if the APU amp data can be interfaced,
if not the LED's will display a fixed number when the APU is switched on)
Last but not least: two very nice retro looking headsets. The guy who sold them
told me they were good quality headsets (Maxon), produced a long time ago but
brand new! Just € 7,50 each... I think they will do great in the sim!
When I came home from this great experience I had a lot of new energy and started
to redesign the mechanical parts inside the column controls. I now had the axes,
pulleys and more to work with! I still needed some ball bearing parts to fixate
Yet again my friend came up with a great idea: he just bought some second hand
inline skates for just € 4,50 at a local second hand shop. He disassembled
them and that gave us 16 ball bearings of quite good quality! He didn't need
them all for is own project, so I could get 4 of them.
I already was searching online for some appropriate bearing houses (expensive
stuff!) when we realized that the skate wheels actually were bearing houses
themselves. They just needed some adjustment:
Skate wheels disassembled and cut in half!
We've created a custom 'tool' to cut the wheels safely on the saw table.
A few weeks ago I already glued the alu plugs into the PVC parts.
Basic set-up of the lower control column parts.
Looking very good!
The inside bore diameter of the ball bearings is 8mm, the axes I got are 6mm
so we need a bearing bus to hold the axes. Searching online and at some local
stores didn't result in anything. "Stop searching, start thinking creative!"
(Thanks Peter!) These plugs were exactly 8mm on the outside and 6mm on the inside!
This will do just fine!
My workbench with all the parts and tools, just for a quick impression.
The halved inline skate bearing houses mounted in to place with three M4 bolts.
The neatly prepared axes with pulleys and busses, looking awesome!
An inside look with the axes mounted in to place. Both sides now have the bearing
Overview of the complete assembled part, notice the (set)ring mounted on the
end of the axis.
When you finish the first part in a few hours, the next part is ready in no-time!
Total overview of the lower control column parts. Al the radial movements are
extremely smooth! I'm really happy with the results!
The next parts I need to get are the right length of timing belts, but I'm on
that right now. Also I soon will disassemble the Saitek Yokes to take a good
look inside so I can get an idea of how to design the upper parts of the control
But before I can continue building, I will have to go on two weeks of training
for my new job. Because this is quite far away from home, the company offered
a hotel to stay. I guess my hands will be a bit itchy when I've got nothing
to do all those evenings... However, the new job pays a lot better than my previous
one, meaning I can invest more in the project! So in the end it's for a good
Let me know what you think!
08-04-2010 12:29:57 - Update Hi everyone! The hot weather in the past 5 weeks
kept me from working hard on the project, in-home temperatures raised to 33°C!
Here's a little update:
I've worked a bit on the raised floor. I glued two 18mm multiplex
plates together and shaped them as in the Raised floor PDF
from Ron Rollo.
Here I tried to make some support for the raised floor, but
It needed some adjusting because the 'mouse hole' for the
control columns is too high and weakened the structure.
As you may have noticed, I used Ron Rollo's plastic column
control parts in the opposite direction. That's because I
couldn't find PVC tubes smaller than 70mm (1.78") and
it didn't fit any other way. I'm using 70mm for the horizontal
column parts, and 80mm for the vertical.
Also, I'm not using a ball bearing set-up for the column
controls. I'm in contact with a guy at a local machine factory
and he made these very nice aluminum plugs for me. With a
little grease and a maybe a spring this works great! The galvanized
screws are going to be replaced by strong bolts when I know
the exact position of the parts...
Big news! I've had contact with Saitek in Germany and told
my story about building the sim. I've asked for spare part
yokes that I could use on the control columns. The nice guy
who helped me found two complete yoke sets in great condition
(only some small malfunction on the TQ) and sent me those
two sets completely free! Amazing isn't it? +10 for Saitek!
That's it for now, thanks!
06-09-2010 01:49:51 - Ready? Go! Hi there, here's a update!
I got most of the tools I need for now (including a very
nice saw table, thanks dad!). I've also managed to get all
the LCD screens needed (2x standard 15" and 1x 15.4"
wide) and a little computer with a wireless network adapter.
All the computers are across my home so I've set up a wireless
network access point that connects them all. While managing
all these things I bought WideFS and FSUIPC and installed
Dave Ault's software on the computer in my workshop. I've
installed WideFS and FSUIPC on my FSX (server) computer (which
is on the complete opposite of my home, but also in the wireless
network) and did some testing. It turns out great! smile It
runs very smooth and I have to say that Dave Ault (US, software
engineer) did an outstanding job on the gauges, RMU's and
The next thing I know I was working on the base floor which
is almost finished and I hope to get started on the raised
floor system and column controls very soon! I have so much
fun doing this!! :D
I really need to thank Ron Rollo (US) for the lower column
parts which arrived last week and all of his great advise
and detailed information he e-mail me in the last two months.
Thanks Ron! :)
Here's a little impression:
04-29-2010 13:55:01 - Preparing the workshop
I almost finished preparing my workshop for the build of
my Lear45! I have a nice large room with great lightning and
some serious tools coming up.
I needed to build a proper workbench first, so I made some
pics to give an impression of my workshop:
(pics are made with my phone, don't have a nice digital cam
I used some 'left-overs' for the frame.
Thanks Ron! :D
The 'legs' came out of a 2-persons bed I ripped apart.
My cat is very curious, I guess he was an airline pilot in
his previous life...
Top-class simplicity, but it's very sturdy and gives me enough
workspace (2,50 meter).
Short term to-do-list:
- Wait for the saw table and some other tools
- Getting a computer with wireless internet connection and
- Start designing the base floor with the column controls!